(Grand Admiral Von Tirpiz., My memoirs (vol 1) (p.123-124) (April 1919)
In January 1900 I pointed out to the Emperor that our navy programme would never be sufficient to threaten England with attack.
The battle fleet, I said, was never intended for war overseas, but solely for the defence of home waters and it would be a mistaken procedure to go ahead with the second section of the navy awaiting development, the foreign service fleet, before the battlefleet had materialised. (p.125)
Politicall speaking however, the proposed German fleet offerred the English every guarantee of peace, because the latter were two or three times stronger, and it would have been madness to have let loose a war with such slight prospects of overcoming the British fleet.
On the other hand, what we aimed at, was to be so strong that it would mean a certain risk even for the English fleet, with its enormous superiority, to pick a quarrel with us. Herein lay the political defensive as well as the tactical will to fight in a war of defence. Thus this idea of a risk which we hinted at was made more popular in the shape of the formula that our navy was not maintained on a bigger, nor on a smaller, scale than would be necessary to make an attack upon us seem a hazardous undertaking even to the greatest sea-power. The logical sequence of this idea would have been that a respectable fleet would also increase our qualifications as an ally.